The beautiful hill town of Darjeeling, still steeped in the nuances of a favoured summer retreat from the days of the Raj will steal your heart any time of the year that you are visiting. Even 48 hours spent here will not be enough for the things one can do in lovely environs of Darjeeling located in the Eastern Himalayas, north of the gateway town of Siliguri in the Dooars.
From its heritage buildings to its legendary tea plantations… from its views of Mt Khanchendzonga, the world’s third highest peak to a ride on the UNESCO acclaimed World Heritage Site Darjeeling Himalayan Railway toy train these are some of the sure-shot top things that you should pack in during your 48 hours in Darjeeling.
One of the first thing in Darjeeling is to get to know the hill town on a more intimate footing. Let’s take that literally, because you should explore Darjeeling on foot to get a feel of the town, mingle with the locals, do the things they do, like hanging out on the Mall at Glenary’s for coffee and conversations, shop for woolies and teas and handicrafts and even enjoy a pony ride. But before all this, rise early to catch the dawn at Tiger Top for the drama of a stunning sunrise which puts the spotlight on Mt. Kanchendzonga and its accompanying peaks). If you are really lucky, even the elusive Mt. Everest will probably show up in the frame. The 360-degree panoramic display opens up on views of the Siliguri plains as well.
Among the first to do activities during your trip to Darjeeling is to sign up for a lively Heritage Walk with Darjeeling Walks. The Colonial Heritage Walk introduces you to the high points of the colonial days of Darjeeling, which served as the summer capital of the British. The three hour stroll leads you to some of the hidden gems of Darjeeling town. Your local host helps you unravel the many facets of the exciting history behind the most significant heritage structures in town.
Not many people are aware of the plural culture of Darjeeling’s multi-ethnic populace. Darjeeling has served as home to many communities including Lepchas (Rongpas), Nepalis, Tibetans, Bengalis, Germans, Jews, Parsis, Marwaris, Biharis, Chinese and Europeans. One of the top things to do is to enjoy a lunch break savouring the delights of its multiple culinary offerings such as Tibetan, Nepali, Newari, North-Eastern, Chinese, English, Bengali, and tribal cuisines that thrive in the hill town. It’s an excellent opportunity to chat up local diners and cooks to unravel the stories behind unique recipes from the hills.
Darjeeling Himalayan Railway consists of 88.48 km of 2 feet (0.610 meter) gauge track that connects New Jalpaiguri with Darjeeling town. Post-lunch you can opt for a short ride on the legendary Darjeeling toy train which wends its slow way through small bazaars to each destination along the way. Do find time to make this slow travel experience one of the top things that you can do during your trip to Darjeeling.
Exploring the gorgeous environs of the countryside in Darjeeling should positively be on your list of top things. The surrounds of Darjeeling are just exquisite and perfect for trekking trips, picnics and the like. Magnolias and Rhododendrons startle you with their extravagant blossoms and scents, and the dense pine forests spirit you away to a world that is headily pollution free. Walking the nature trails around Darjeeling hill town you can steep yourself in the cathartic silences of its natural beauty. Steep yourself in the deep serenity of the pine ridges as you wander past tea estates, and boutique nurseries and riverside farms. Nature Trails are exclusively conducted in picturesque Himalayan hamlets, fragrant forests, wildlife sanctuaries and national parks by Darjeeling Walks.
To be in Darjeeling and not add a visit to a tea estate on your list of top things is just not on. Drive tea garden to spend time with the pluckers and the workers in the tea factory; chat with the manager to unveil what goes into making a fragrant cup of Darjeeling tea that’s world famous.
If you can do squeeze in a musical performance in your list of top things to do in your 48 hours in Darjeeling. You can enjoy this through the Baithak in the Hills tour offered by Darjeeling Walks. This unique experience involves visiting the folk musicians of the Jhapa District in Nepal, who have settled in the Darjeeling hills and still keep alive the well-loved Nepali songs handed down from their ancestors. These songs are accompanied by their ever-loved companion, i.e., the beautiful Nepali Sarangi.
There are so many things to do for a visitor to Darjeeling it’s just not possible to pack it all in 48 hours. Plan for heaps of 48 hours in Darjeeling to cover many other things to do and enjoy in this beautiful hill town.